It is believed that the Newfoundland dog came from crossing the native Indian dogs of Newfoundland with dogs brought by settlers, possibly mastiff type dogs , they were utilised by the settlers by bringing in fishing nets and then taking the catch to the markets using carts .It is said that a captain of a ship saw this majestic dog and took two back to England ,one of which reportedly saved a sailor's life when he fell overboard in rough seas. Now a days the modern newfie no longer works , although in Europe they can still be seen jumping out of helicopters and assisting the lifeguards , in the UK there is a working lifeguard newfie in Cornwall.
The Newfoundland is a giant breed , but with a passion for its human companions , mostly laid back but can have a streak of mischief when the mood takes them , they are generally very good with other animals to the point of lying flat so a smaller dog can come close without being too intimidated by the sheer mass of the shaggy dog they have seen.
Do not be complacent as these dogs are powerful ( and can be known to suffer from Newfoundland deaf ear , in other words I hear you but I will ignore you and do my own thing) early training and socialisation are a must as an out of hand newfie can be a nightmare , as tales from the breed rescue can confirm , but generally they make excellent companions and house dogs but not for the house proud , as they tend to pick up bits as if they are made of velcro , They adore human contact and do not like to be left for extended periods of time.
GroomingThis is not for the faint hearted , grooming 2 to 3 times a week should keep a newfie clean and matt free , they can matt very easily especially the feathers, under arms and behind the ears , but most enjoy the fuss and will readily lie down with legs a kimbo to be brushed.
As with a lot of giant breeds newfies can have health problem too, most know of hip dysplasia and hearts problems but recently elbows and cystinuria (bladder crystals ) have been known to cause problems. All dogs used for breeding should be fully health tested , hips and elbows via the bva schemes , hearts should be tested by Eco -Doppler scanning and be free of any abnormalities , cystinuria is done via a DNA test , which will tell whether the dog is clear, affected or a carrier.
Also using dogs below the breed average of 26 hips and 0-0 elbows will help to eliminate /reduce the number of dogs that maybe affected by these crippling diseases.With careful breeding these problems have been reduced in recent years and hopefully this will continue to be the case.
- Understanding the Results of Heart Testing (external link opens in a new window)